Outsider art is the work produced outside the mainstream of modern art by self-taught, untrained visionaries, spiritualists, recluses, folk artists, psychiatric patients, prisoners, and others beyond the imposed margins of society and the art market. Coined by Roger Cardinal in 1972, the term was intended as an English equivalent to Jean Dubuffet’s “art brut”—literally “raw art,” “uncooked” by culture, unaffected by fashion, unmoved by artistic standards.
In this comprehensive and indispensable guide, Colin Rhodes surveys the history and reception of outsider art—first championed by Dubuffet and the Surrealists, now appreciated by a wider public. This volume provides fresh insights into the achievements of both major figures and newly discovered artists, as well as the emergence of specialized studios, as the relationship between outsider art and the contemporary mainstream art world has developed and become more intertwined. From spirit-guided Madge Gill and schizophrenic Adolf Wölfli, to Rosemarie Koczy’s expressions of trauma and Nek Chand’s outdoor creations, these individuals passionately pursue the pictorial expression of their vision.
Now illustrated in full color, with the exception of some archival photographs, this new edition has been substantially revised with a greater focus on global outsider art, as well as including more recent talents to the field.